Explore Art With Preschoolers: Concept Books

Art with preschoolers. Does the thought of trying to teach your preschooler art make you cringe? You just know that your preschooler is going to look at your attempts to make art and demand that someone who knows what they are doing teach them? Because you clearly don’t know what you are doing.

Exploring art with preschoolers - concept books

Well maybe not that far, but you do feel far from an art expert. Let me reassure you of something.

Art is not a science. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even pretty to be art. One of the best ways to remind yourself of this is to simply explore art with your preschooler. You will quickly see that some things are considered art that will even make you feel better about your skills. šŸ˜‰

And since I am a huge fan of the two birds with one stone concept, I found a fun list of concept books (colors, numbers, etc.) to explore.

Explore Art with Preschoolers: Concept Books

Art 123: Count from 1 to 12 with Great Works of Art by Stefano Zuffi – Each number gets a painting or other work of art and has a little whimsical, rhyming prose to go with it.

I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait – “I spy with my little eye…” each shape found in a famous painting. Lots of different styles of painting.

Art: A World of Words in 12 Languages by Doris Kutschbach – Simple format, a piece of art on one page and a word that describes it in 12 different languages on the opposite page.

A is for Art Museum by Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker – An ABC book about the art museum. Each letter gets a piece of art that corresponds with a word that starts with said letter. Each letter has a question or two to help guide you in exploring the pieces with your preschooler.

The Art Treasure Hunt: I Spy with My Little Eye by Doris Kutschbach – Each painting has a selection of items for your preschooler to search out.

Art Detective: Spot the Difference by Doris Kutschbach, illustrated by Julia DĆ¼rr – Compare the original painting to the “forgery” and see what differences you can find.

A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet by Stephen T. Johnson – If you love alliteration, you HAVE to get this book. Each letter has a piece of art created by the author and has a short passage of text that uses words that start with that letter almost exclusively. It is quite a feat.

I Spy Colors in Art by Lucy Micklethwait – Same format as the I Spy Shapes book.

Make Your Own Art!

The Big Book of Color: An Adventurous Journey into the Magical and Marvelous World of Color published by Walter Foster Jr. – This book is a wonderful tool for exploring color with preschoolers. I plan to use it this coming school year with my preschooler, who is four. There is another book that works with it called The Bib Book of….

So get out there and explore some art and then step out of your box and actually create some. I promise, no one will throw tomatoes at you!

You might also like:

How to Teach Art in Your Homeschool When You Have No Talent!

Bird Unit Study for Preschool

I can hardly believe that I’m actually looking into preschool homeschooling again. Our youngest child is three and he is our most active child yet. I am looking forward to lots of fun with this guy.

I’m one of those homeschool moms that likes to make a big plan and then pick and choose what I do as the days go. I like to have options. And sometimes I completely ignore my plans and do my own thing. Even though my plan is also my own thing. I’m complicated like that.

Right now, I am planning on using a theme or unit study approach with Oliver. And I will be sharing these here on the blog. They will consist of books, crafts, activities, coloring pages, simple worksheets, and anything else that happens to fit with the theme.

Please Note: I am not putting these together and expecting us to complete every single activity, every single time. So please don’t think I’m expecting anyone else to do so either. And with that, let’s dive on into our bird unit study for preschool!

(For more bird unit study resources, check the bottom of this post…I like birds.)

Bird Unit Study for Preschool

Bird Unit Study for Preschool

For our homeschool, every unit study starts with a book list. Some lists are longer than other, but it is the foundation. For preschool, I use both fiction and non-fiction picture books. I include some higher level reading books, we use these as read aloudsĀ or just to include the older siblings. These are marked so you know.

Books for a Bird Unit Study for Preschool

I’ve broken these up a bit to make the list a bit more organized.

Books About Birds – Living Book Style

These books are picture books that feature birds but in an engaging story about various aspects of bird life versus a list of facts or textbook style text.

  • Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak – This book has a lovely rhythm to it. The illustrations have a realistic nature-like look to them. There is a little interview with the nesting bird at the end of the story that has some fun facts about nesting birds.
  • Birds by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek – Bright and colorful, this book covers a variety of different looks birds can have.
  • Don’t be Afraid Little Pip by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman – Pip is disappointed that she can’t fly and tries to learn how from a few birds who can fly. Ultimately she learns to appreciate that she is a penguin and penguins aren’t meant to fly, they are meant to swim!
  • Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Megan Halsey – A classroom follows a pair of blue jays from the nest building stage to when their baby birds leave the nest and are able to fly without even one lesson. The illustrations in this book appear to be paper cutouts, they are rather neat looking.
  • Little Bird Takes a Bath by Marisabina Russo – Follow along with the little bird as he goes about his day trying to get a proper bath in the city.
  • An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long – Not all the eggs in this book are bird eggs, but a lot are and the book is too gorgeous to leave out.
  • A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long – Like the egg book, not all bird nests, but still a lovely book to include.

Picture Books With Birds

These picture books feature birds but are more storytelling fun in nature.

  • Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry by Vern Kousky – I love that this book introduces poetry to preschoolers in a fun way. There are excerpts from “real” poets like T.S. Eliot and Emily Dickinson and then Otto creates some of his own.
  • The Little Bird Who Lost His Song by Jedda Robaard – A little bird goes on a short journey to find his song in this board book. There are a couple flaps in this book which make it more interactive for little ones.
  • Home Tweet Home by Courtney Dicmas – This is a fun, colorful book about two bird siblings who try to find the perfect home for their large family, only to realize they already have it.
  • Duck’s Vacation by Gilad Soffer – This is a silly, bird version of the classic There’s a Monster at the End of This Book.
  • Duck & Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills – Duck and Goose are good friends and always a fun read. There are multiple books featuring them. This one has them traveling to the beach. I can oftentimes relate to Goose in this book.
  • Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins – A young woodpeckers learns how to peck, and proceeds to peck a hole in just about everything. A slightly silly, fun read.
  • I’m Not Reading by Jonathon Allen – Baby Owl is trying to read a book to his stuffed Owly when a horde of baby chicks invades. It’s a cute horde.

These two picture books tell a story, but they have a sad element in them that you may want to pre-read so you can decide if your child will be ok with them.

  • Bluebird by Bob Staake – This is a wordless book about a lonely boy who befriends a sweet blue bird. The story has a tragic element when the bluebird is struck and killed by a bully with a stick. The book ends with several birds flying the sad boy and his bluebird up in the sky, where the bluebird flies and fades off into the clouds. The geometric illustrations are unique and the reason this book is still on this list.
  • Hungry Hen by Richard Waring, illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church – This book is similar to a fairy tale. The fox watches the hungry hen grow, always waiting just one more day because she will be bigger the next day. The fox grows weaker each day until one day he pounces…and the hen eats him. Some kids will find this role reversal funny, some very much not. It reminds me of Aesop’s fables, so I included it on the list.

Bird Picture Books for Older Kids

These books will make a good read aloud or as a way to include an older sibling in on the study:

  • Seabird by Holling Clancy Holling – This is a classic living book that chronicles the journey of a carved ivory gull through every “age of American adventure.”
  • Backyard Birds of Summer by Carol Lerner – The detailed, colored pencil illustrations of this book are lovely. The book covers feeder birds and birds using houses and includes a chapter on attracting birds to your own yard. There is also a section for more information and further reading.
  • Backyard Birds of Winter by Carol Lerner – I did not actually have this one on hand, but it is recommended on the back of the birds of summer book by the same author. I am assuming it is similar and wanted to include it so you would know it is available (I didn’t).

Crafts & Activities for a Bird Unit Study for Preschool

I searched for crafts and activities that would be suitable for 3-4-year-olds, but most of these can be done by just about any age child.

If you would like a unit study for older children to go along with this one for the preschoolers, check out the Bird Unit Study over at Every Star is Different! Several of her activities can be used with preschoolers, too. I actually downloaded her science printable pack to use with my kids. I’ll laminate them and we will be able to use them for a long time!

So that is the bird unit study for preschool. In putting this together, I realized a few things. First, I love birds and think they are a lot of fun. Second, I have already written a couple of posts on bird unit studies and even created a couple printables. Third, there will likely be another bird booklist in the future because I found even more adorable bird books to check out at our library. You’re welcome.

Other bird unit study resources on the blog:

Our Goals for Homeschool Preschool This Year

Failing to plan is planning to fail, right? I am a goals person. I love setting them, I love working on them, and I love chucking them when things change and the goals no longer fit.

Meaning? I’m not married to my goals. They just keep me focused. And trust me, I can use all the help with focusing that I can get.

So today, I’m talking about our goals for homeschool preschool this year. Oliver is three and is a high-energy, active boy. Translation? A lovable boy who is very much into anything that interests him ALL.THE.TIME. I’m hoping to help him focus his energy a bit more on productive activities. šŸ˜‰

Our homeschool preschool goals for our 3 year old. We keep it simple.

Our Goals for Homeschool Preschool

Oliver is a solid 3.5 years old as we start this homeschool year and is showing a LOT of interest in learning about just about anything. He is inquisitive and loves people.

I have the feeling he is going to prove to be a kinesthetic, social learner…the two learning styles that challenge me the most. This is actually why I am starting to work with him in a more focused manner now. I started with kindergarten age with our older children.

Writing Readiness

Basically, I want to work on his fine motor skills. Both of my boys have always had good fine motor skills, I just want to fine tune Oliver’s a bit before diving into working with pencils. I am using the following resources to guide this area:

Developing a Love of Reading

I’m of the “if you can read, you can learn anything” mentality. I want to create a love of reading in my children. This is actually a goal for all of our kids this homeschool year. I’ve let reading fall in our priorities list and I want to remedy that now.

I will work on this goal by being intentional about reading to my kids. Yes, the dreaded read aloud. I am still conquering that one. Love to read, not so much out loud.

Fostering Independence

Oliver is very independent as it is. I am trying to not see this as quite so bittersweet (mah baby doesn’t need meee!) and embracing it. I want to help Oliver develop some good habits that I wasn’t quite so diligent about with the older three when they were little. Things like helping with laundry and putting away toys immediately after use.

I also want to encourage his growing independent play time. He is the youngest (by almost six years) of four so he has always had someone to hang out with. This is a great thing for his social skills (the kid doesn’t know a stranger), but isn’t such a great thing when everyone else has something going on that he can’t help with like their own schoolwork.

That’s pretty much it. I am not one for a lot of structure when it comes to the early years of homeschooling. We are pretty relaxed to allow a lot of time for things like play, exploring their gifts and talents, and building family relationships.

These three goals for homeschool preschool are a good fit for our family. Do you have any homeschool goals for this year?